Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
• The Celtics are 10-1 without Allen this season, including 5-1 in the six games Bradley has replaced him recently — and if not for the Mickael Pietrus injury in Philadelphia, the Celtics might be 6-0. What's more, Boston is 11-4 with Bradley as a starter this season, including his time spent subbing for injured Rondo earlier in the year.
• Not including Sunday's game — maybe Boston's most dominant win of the recent stretch — a starting five of Bradley, Rondo, Pierce, Garnett and Bass owned a plus-24.70 net rating in 77.2 minutes together, according to lineup data logged by BasketballValue.com. What's more, Boston's offensive rating (points per 100 possessions) is 114.57 with that lineup and its defensive rating is 89.96 — both much better than the team's season averages (99.82 on offense; 99.63 on defense).
• Allen with the second-half starting lineup has a plus-2.11 net rating (103.89 offensive; 101.78 defensive) over a team-high 268.68 minutes. That's encouraging offensive production, but hammers home how much better the Celtics' defense has been with Bradley on the floor.
My theory on why the offensive is more efficient with Avery Bradley: There's no pressure to find him shots.
When Ray Allen is on the court, and he's not getting touches, there's pressure on Rajon Rondo to get him the ball. He's shooting 45% from 3, he deserves some looks. But we've seen many instances where Rondo will dribble away time awaiting Ray to come off multiple screens. It sometimes brings the offense to a screeching halt.
Check out Avery's shooting percentage. He's 48% for the season and 50% in his last ten games. Look at this season's shot chart, 94 of his 233 attempts have come at the rim. His buckets come on fast breaks or cuts to the hoop.
The Celtics are playing better offensively and defensively with Avery Bradley as a starter. Doc Rivers needs to ride out this wave. Once Ray Allen is healthy enough to play, ease him back as a 6th man. If the team sputters, make the switch. If the team continues to play well, stay with the status quo.
On Page 2, Paul Pierce is slightly disappointed this morning.
The Truth tweeted out photos of himself in his old Jayhawks uniform prior to last night's NCAA championship game between Kansas and Kentucky. The Wildcats won it, 67-59.
Pierce referenced a wager with Wildcats alum Rajon Rondo. I'm sure we'll learn the specifics today.
Related link: ESPN Boston – An alma mater: Kansas vs Kentucky
The rest of the links:
Herald – Momentary genius | WEEI – Paul Pierce is playing his best basketball of the season | CSNNE – Celtics get defensive | Enterprise – Stiemsma enjoying the ride | ESPN Boston – Power rankings: Cs up to 7th | Video: Celtics title contenders? | Turiaf talks Celtics, heart ailments | Globe – Bradley's defense is good stuff